Psychological Analysis of Movies (This Assignment Theme: Memory and Consciousness) - Essay Example

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“Insomnia” is the story of Will Dormer, a cop who arrives at Nightmute in northern Alaska together with his partner Hap, to investigate the murder of a 17 year old girl. They examine the body and set a trap for the killer and in the resulting conflict, Dormer accidentally…
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Psychological Analysis of Movies (This Assignment Theme: Memory and Consciousness)
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Insomnia: Story outline: “Insomnia” is the story of Will Dormer, a cop who arrives at Nightmute in northern Alaska together with his partner Hap, toinvestigate the murder of a 17 year old girl. They examine the body and set a trap for the killer and in the resulting conflict, Dormer accidentally shots Hap and then tries to pass it off on the suspect, Walter Finch, a reclusive novelist, because he does not want to substantiate the rumors of corruption that had banished him away from LA. However, Finch has watched events unfold and begins to play a cat and mouse game with Dormer, confessing that he killed the girl but threatening to reveal Dormer’s role in Hap’s death unless he tampers with the evidence to implicate someone else for the girl’s death. In the wintry Alaskan landscape where the sun never sets, Dormer finds himself his mind getting more and more disturbed and faces disorientation as his lack of sleep eats away at his sanity.
This film demonstrates how Dormer begins to get increasingly disoriented by the lack of sleep and how his memories of his corrupt indiscretion back in LA torture him. He knows he is responsible for his friend Hap’s death, just a she knows Finch is responsible for the girl’s death. However, subject to Finch’s manipulation, he tampers with the evidence. The rookie cop Ellie is shocked and dismayed to find out that her mentor is a corrupt cop.
Dormer’s mental deterioration and instability is characterized through the shots of the wild landscape and chase sequences over craggy rocks, representing the constant danger in the region. Dormer’s constant and unsuccessful efforts to blot out the sunlight in his room with masking tape represent further the unstoppable deterioration of his memory processes. His ultimate willingness to tamper with the evidence reveals the manner in which his memory loss results in repetitive behavioral patterns that are corrupt. The director demonstrates the effect of mental madness washing over Dormer that leads him to commit a crime when the chase of the suspect, Finch, takes place through a tunnel and the Alaskan gives way to blinding sunlight in which vision and perception are literally blinded.
There are some stereotypes in this film. One of them is the stereotype of the young rookie cop Ellie, who is predictably shocked when she discovers that her idol Dormer has feet of clay. Another is that of the cop partner Hap, who dies, leading to the inevitable question of whether Dormer deliberately set out to kill him because of the knowledge he had about his past indiscretions? Moreover, the fact that Dormer is ultimately made to turn out corrupt in that he easily and quickly tampers with the evidence against Finch, is a twist that has been included in other films, with the typical bad cop stereotype planting evidence in order to cinch the conviction against a suspect who is known to be guilty. Dormer concealing his criminality and making all attempts to avoid facing up to it, yet being presented with the option of more corruption in order to conceal it however, is an interesting moral dilemma that has been presented in the film. The shrewd psychological manipulation of Finch, utilizing Dormer’s increasing disorientation and resultant lack of certainty about events is one of the highlights of the film.
* Keough, Peter, 2002. “Murdering sleep” [online] available at: Read More
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